Meiktila Muslims stop bulldozing of cemetery


Mizzima news, 26 July 2011

New Delhi (Mizzima) – A construction company in Meiktila bulldozed a 100-year-old Muslim cemetery on Monday, knocking down walls and tombstones before residents forced the company to stop, sources said.

Apparently, plans to bulldoze the cemetery have been longstanding. In 2008 and in March and May 2011, Islamic religious leaders reportedly sent letters to the authorities, urging them not to bulldoze the cemetery, but the authorities did not reply, sources said.

At around 2 a.m. on Monday, three bulldozers from the Myanmar Sane Lan So Pyay Yay Company entered the old cemetery in the Aungzayyar Quarter and began bulldozing before residents could object.

“The area of the cemetery is about 8.5 acres. Now, about four acres have been bulldozed. The bulldozers knocked down stone walls and brick tombs,” a resident said.

During the uproar that followed, the district and township head arrived and the company stopped bulldozing.

The company said in a meeting held in the Township Administrative Office on Thursday that it had bought the land and would bulldoze the land, said a source who attended the meeting.

Muslims in Meiktila held an emergency meeting on Monday and prepared to file a lawsuit against the company.

Since 2001, the cemetery has not been used and Muslims have been buried in Myintawkan, six miles from Meiktila.

Note: Meiktila is a township of Mandalay division, Burma.

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